⦁ From the Washington Post, May 8, 2021: Which travel trends are here to stay? Masks— “Travel experts have consistently brought up 9/11 as a comparison to the pandemic in the sense that they expect travel to return to earlier levels, but forever a bit changed. … And it would not surprise me at all to see more people wear masks when flying, even after it’s not required.”—Hannah Simpson, reporter, Washington Post. Click here for the full article.
⦁ Car Hire Rates in USA Reach New Highs: For operators looking to add independent and small group options to their mix of U.S. product, consider this According to Michelle Walters, a spokesperson for Cheapcarrental.net, rental car rates across the U.S. are, on average, about 30 percent higher than average rental car rates were in May 2019. May 2021 rates are significantly more affordable than those experienced over Presidents’ Day Weekend 2021, when weekly rates in some destinations rose to as much as $3,000 per week due to overall rental car shortages. Is it possible that some international travelers are avoiding bus groups and escorted tours in response to health concerns driven by the global pandemic?
Below are the 10 most expensive destinations for car rental rates this spring. Prices shown reflect average weekly rates (from Sunday to Saturday) for the most affordable rental cars, May 1-31, 2021. Only rental car companies located directly at a destination’s airport or at the airport’s rental car center have been considered for the survey.
Destination & Airport Code
1. Kahului, HI (OGG) $972
2. Kona, HI (KOA) $923
3. Pensacola, FL (PNS) $817
4. Charleston, SC (CHS) $712
5. Honolulu, HI (HNL) $705
6. Lihue, HI (LIH) $652
7. Sarasota, FL (DRQ) $635
8. Savannah, GA (SAV) $581
9. Madison, WI (MSN) $571
10. St. Petersburg, FL (PIE) $569
⦁ In another transaction of giants, Amex GBT is acquiring Egencia: In a deal involving billions (although terms were not discussed publicly) American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) is buying Egencia, Expedia Group’s corporate travel division. As part of the transaction, Expedia Group will become a shareholder in, and enter a long-term strategic commercial agreement with, GBT.
Paul Abbott, GBT’s chief executive, said: “Our strategy is to provide customers with unparalleled choice by having the best solutions for each managed travel segment that we serve. In Egencia, we would welcome the industry’s leading digital business travel platform.” Of the companies involved, Expedia ranks #1 on the Travel Weekly Power List of top travel agencies that do business in the USA with 2019 sales of $107.9 billion; American Express Global Business Travel is #3 with $34.1 billion in sales. Amex GBT said it will “continue to invest in the Egencia brand, its people and technology, as part of the world’s leading business travel platform.”
⦁ Major players are increasing their stake in the tours, attractions & entertainment segment of the global travel and tourism industry with the recent agreement in which Trivago (the majority of its stock is owned by U.S. giant Expedia Group) will be offering users the chance to purchase tours and activities via a new service formed through a deal with Musement (it is based in Milan, Italy and was founded and launched in 2013), which is owned by Hannover, Germany-based giant TUI. Musement will power the channel for Trivago, giving it 55,000 excursions, activities and tickets to attractions in 140 countries around the world. Initially, Trivago Activities will be available in a number of key markets for the hotel metasearch site, including the U.K., U.S., France, Germany, Spain, Russia and the Netherlands. It’s the first time that Trivago has sold tours and activities on its website.
⦁ Disney Destinations last week named Cancún-based PriceTravel Holding as its select operator to share Disney products and services throughout Mexico, Colombia and Latin America, where the tourism group has a strong presence. During the press conference to present the details of the alliance, Jorge Restrepo, CEO of PriceTravel Holding, expressed his satisfaction that PriceTravel is part of the companies that have commercial agreements to distribute the Disney Destinations product in Latin America. Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, four theme parks located in Orlando and more than 30 Walt Disney World Resort resort hotels for all budgets, will be part of the first phase of the sales and promotion strategy by PriceTravel Holding’s marketing and e-commerce team.
⦁ Time’s 100 Most Influential Companies includes four from travel & tourism sector: Disney, Delta, Airbnb and Lego Group are the four travel and tourism industry entities that are a part of the list of the Time 100 Most Influential Companies in 2021. An extension of the famous Time 100, the Most Influential Companies list is broken down into five categories: Pioneers, Leaders, Innovators, Titans and Disruptors. Of the four companies that operate in the tourism sector, the list places Delta among the Leaders, the Lego Group among the Innovators, Disney among the Titans and Airbnb as a Disruptor. Click here for the complete list and more information.
⦁ From Germany’s “ta.ts travel agency mirror” … Cracks of light beginning to show in outlook for the country’s battered travel and tourism industry. It was about the middle of April 2020 that the travel agency segment, like every other sector of the German travel and tourism business, was crushed flat in the penumbra of the COVID-19 virus-generated global pandemic. For the past 12 months of retail activity (the segment is the only readily available measure of the month-to-month health of the travel) as measured by the ta.ts (Travel Agency Technologies and Services) regularly indicated that travel agent sales were off by more than 90 percent or more. This is because most activity for those months from April 2020 through April 2021 was nil. Now that the monthly ta.ts travel agency measure is reflecting a more accurate mirror of activity, the draconian losses of the one-year period are less so. Indeed, there are plusses in year-on-year activity (2021 vs. 2020).
Sales activity, April 2021
—Overall activity was minus 52.5 percent in April 2021 compared to the same month last year.
—The billed tourism turnover shows a minus of 76.5 percent in April.
—Air traffic revenue was down 20.1 percent for the month.
—Sales of “other” products were plus 26.9 percent and the number of tickets (for tours, activities and entertainment, etc.) was plus 18.2 percent.
—Sales from the tourism sub-division cruises were down 58 percent in April.
—Viewed cumulatively, the total invoiced travel agency turnover in the months from ——January to April was minus 78.5 percent.
—Tourism recorded a minus of 88.1 percent, while air traffic recorded a minus of 79.0 percent.
— “Other” sales showed a minus of 59.6 percent and the number of tickets a minus of 82.1 percent.
—The cruises segment recorded a decline of -84.5 percent.
Source: As reported by the Frankfort-based Travel Agency & Technologies Services, a Lufthansa Group company.
⦁ Hotel Asset Managers see light at end of tunnel. The Hospitality Asset Managers Association (HAMA) has released the results of its biannual survey of asset managers’ thoughts, experiences, and forecasts for the upcoming year as the hotel industry continues to handle the ongoing pandemic. Topics ranged from “return to 2019” RevPAR level predictions to the status of the lending market. The survey was conducted in preparation for HAMA’s recent 2021 Annual Spring Meeting, which was held virtually in response to the pandemic. “As vaccinations in the United States continue, it would appear the light at the end of the tunnel for the hospitality industry is coming into clear focus, and we are delighted to find it is not an oncoming train,” said Larry Trabulsi, executive vice president at CHMWarnick and current HAMA president. Some findings from the survey:
—Nearly 30 percent of respondents are contemplating brand or management changes as part of their recovery strategy, approximately five percent believed they would change brands, ten percent foresaw changing management companies, and roughly 15 percent believe they would change both.
—Approximately 15 percent of participants expected to either hand back keys to the lender or enter into a forced sale situation. Nearly 10 percent already had.
—Most HAMA members (50 percent) believe RevPAR will return to 2019 levels by 2023. Not quite ten percent believe it will occur as early as 2022, while approximately 37 percent believed it would happen in 2024. Predictions for 2025 and 2026 came in at three and one percent, respectively.
—The three factors most concerning to participants right now include labor availability (75 percent), demand (60 percent), and labor costs (55 percent).
—On average, in urban markets for full-service and luxury properties, nearly 45 percent of those surveyed anticipated acquisition price discounts of 11 to 20 percent. While one respondent believed discounts could reach 41 percent or more off pre-pandemic pricing, approximately 15 percent felt discounts would be as low as zero to eleven percent.